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Student Services

Student Services offered in the Colonial School District
  • Programming for gifted and talented students including honors and advanced placement courses in the high school
  • Full time certified guidance counselors and nurses in all schools
  • Before and after school child care in many elementary school sites
  • On-site wellness center at William Penn (contingent upon parental permission), which provides health care services including diagnosis, treatment and referral
  • Remedial services based upon demonstrated need —including Title I and Special Education
  • School psychologists, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and early childhood programs are available to students who have been determined eligible under IDEA or Section 504.
  • Comprehensive peer mediation program instituted in almost every Colonial school
  • Variety of services for students and their families who have been identified as fitting the criteria for homelessness
  • Section 504 services for students with mental or physical impairments
  • Child Find Services for persons age 0-21 who are not attending public school
Contact Information

Schools Division
c/o Colonial School District
318 East Basin Road
New Castle, DE  19720

Jon Cooper, Director
Mary Ann Nelson, Secretary
Phone: (302) 323-2872
Fax: (302) 323-2748

Section 504 Student Services

Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds.  To be eligible for services and accommodations under Section 504, a student must be determined to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities in the school setting.

Each school in Colonial has 504 Coordinator (a school guidance counselor) who works with a team of staff members to address referrals, determine eligibility, and develop 504 Accommodation Plans for eligible students.  Referrals to the 504 team can be made by parents or staff.  A determination for services is made after parental permission is given for an evaluation.  Depending on the nature of the student’s disability, the evaluation can consist of a variety of sources of information, including a review of the student’s grades, attendance, teacher reports, school-based testing, the student’s medical history, and other specific assessments related to the area of need.

Students who are determined eligible will have a plan developed which addresses reasonable  accommodations and/or services needed to make it possible for the student to access the general education curriculum and all school programs and facilities.

For further information regarding Section 504 or to submit a referral, please contact your child’s Guidance Counselor or one of the people below.

Dr. Jon Cooper
Director of Student Services

Melanie Hoffmann
District 504 Coordinator


Online resources for parents

Families in Transition/Homelessness

The Colonial School District provides a variety of services for students and their families who have been identified as meeting the criteria for homelessness. These services are school based and are geared towards providing academic and school stability during the time of homelessness.

Homeless students/families are those who lack fixed, adequate and regular housing. These housing situations can result in some families having to move to a motel or an emergency shelter. Other families are forced, due to economic reasons, to move in with friends or relatives. Some families are also forced to live in other inadequate situations such as cars, parks and abandoned buildings.

Students meeting the homeless criteria are entitled to school services such as free lunch and breakfast, feasible transportation and school supply assistance. In order to support academic and school stability, students are allowed to remain at their home school (school of origin) if the loss of a home results in the need for a school or district change.

Each school in Colonial has an assigned building homeless liaison who, along with the district homeless coordinator, ensures services are provided to homeless students.

To obtain assistance, contact your child’s school office or the district coordinator.

Melanie Hoffmann, District Homeless Coordinator
(302) 429-4054

Online resources for parents
Delaware Department of Education

Physical Therapy Services

Physical therapy services are provided as a “related service” under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) to assist students with disabilities to benefit from their special education program. Working collaboratively on a team with educators, parents, and other related service personnel, the physical therapist (PT) is responsible for providing educationally related therapeutic programming for students whose disabilities interfere with their educational program.

The emphasis of physical therapy is to promote the student’s physical development, motor proficiency, and functional motor abilities as part of the overall learning process. The PT’s primary concern is motor function and concentrates on the child’s ability to maintain his or her body in a position to facilitate learning and to move as independently as possible in the context of the school program and environment. With expertise in the gross motor area, the PT can assess individual student needs and provide specialized input in mobility and movement strategies, adaptive equipment, assistive devices, and gross motor development so that the student can be successful in the school program. The PT can also enhance the student’s program through consultation and training for staff members and parents regarding a student’s specific disability.

Physical therapy is a prescriptive process. The PT evaluates the child’s abilities in areas such as postural control, balance, muscle strength and control, physical development, orthopedic alignment, gross motor skills, mobility, positioning and seating, and use of assistive devices when necessary. With collaborative input from other staff members, these functional abilities are then analyzed as to how they impact the child’s ability to function in the school environment and participate in the specific educational program. Interpretation of the evaluation examines how the delay or impairment affects the student’s school program in terms of motor skill function, health and safety, need for individualized positioning and facilitation of movement, need for environmental modifications, equipment and adaptations, and a need for communication within the school and community environments.

Treatment may include facilitating gross motor development and motor skills, mobility and gait training, remediating motor deficits that impair function, managing orthopedic problems, using compensatory strategies to overcome motor impairments, adapting equipment or the environment for improved function, and preventing further impairment. Treatment can be direct, where there is one-to-one contact with the student or a group of students, or indirect, which involves consultation and monitoring. Many times, a continuum of services provides the best method of intervention for students with disabilities, where consultation is provided in addition to direct treatment where necessary.

Performance of carryover activities in the classroom and school environment is critical for students with disabilities to achieve their goals in motor areas. Physical therapy consultation with classroom staff is necessary for this to occur. Direct treatment by a PT can provide the student with specific strategies and improved motor mechanisms, but daily repeated, guided practice will assist the student to learn specific motor skills in specific environments. Embedding specific motor activities within the classroom or various learning situations greatly assists with carryover and improved student learning. Students with physical disabilities need movement throughout their school day in order to prevent further physical deterioration and to improve basic mobility skills.

Some examples of the PT consultative role may include: collaborating with staff regarding transfers in and out of equipment; providing recommendations for positioning students out of their wheelchair or in other classroom equipment; instructing staff and parents in use of adaptive equipment necessary to position and support the student for various learning activities; planning for and helping implement opportunities for independent and assisted mobility; instructing staff on appropriate ways to physically handle and assist students in mobility and transfers that makes it easier on the staff while encouraging greater participation and independence from the student. In a more general consultative role, the PT can assess accessibility issues and work with the staff to solve problems in this area. The PT can also provide specific information on the student’s disability and how it can impact on the educational environment. The PT can also be of assistance with transportation and fire evacuation issues.

Please refer to Focus on Educational Significance of Physical Therapy (excerpted from “Physical Therapy Practice in Educational Environments, Policies and Guidelines,” American Physical Therapy Association, 1990), which describes functional areas, PT services provided, and their relationship to education. This is located in the Appendix of this manual.


Definition of Physical Therapy

The following definition of “physical therapy” is from the Delaware Physical Therapy Practice Act.

“Physical therapy” means the evaluation, instruction or treatment of any person to detect, assess, prevent, correct, alleviate or limit physical disability from injury or disease and any other physical and/or mental condition, by the utilization of the effective properties of physical measures, activities and devices such as heat, cold, light, air, water, sound, electricity, massage, mobilization, therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, including training in functional activities, with or without assistive devices. Physical therapy also includes the supervision of physical therapy activities, physical therapy consultation and the establishment and modifications of physical therapy programs.

The physical therapist is a health care professional licensed to practice physical therapy in the State of Delaware, according to Delaware Physical Therapy Practice Act, 24 Del. C., Ch. 26, and the Delaware State Examining Board of Physical Therapy Rules and Regulations (December 1977, 1:6 Del.R.714). State licensing requirements can be obtained from the State of Delaware Department of Professional Regulation in Dover, DE (Physical Therapy 739-4522).

The pediatric physical therapist is a licensed physical therapist who concentrates on the assessment, treatment, and prevention of medical and developmental conditions as the conditions uniquely affect children. This includes management of traumatic, developmental, and systematic disorders and encompasses all appropriate evaluative, habilitative and rehabilitative procedures used in clinical practice. (American Physical Therapy Association, Section on Pediatrics Bylaws, March, 1978).

The physical therapist practicing in the school setting is a licensed physical therapist who provides services for students with identified physical disability, motor deficiency, and/or developmental delays which interfere with the student’s ability to benefit from special education.


State of Delaware Department of Education Certification

A physical therapist must meet specific requirements in order to become certified as a school physical therapist in the State of Delaware. School employees should check with the Colonial School District Personnel Office and the State of Delaware Professional Standards and Certification Office in Dover, DE (302-739-4686) for further information. The certification requirements are included in the Appendix.


Physical Therapy Job Description

The Colonial School District does not have a specific job description for a school physical therapist. Readers are directed to the Job Description for School Physical Therapist contained in Appendix A of Guidelines for Physical Therapy Practice in Educational Environments in the State of Delaware (Dec., 1990). This job description has also been included in the Appendix of this manual.

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